Utah government, local health departments and private businesses working on COVID-19 solutions

Posted at 12:09 PM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 14:14:26-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A coalition of industry leaders in medical research, the tech industry, the Utah Department of Health and the Utah government are working together to fight the spread of COVID-19.

On Friday, health experts said they have exciting news to share about recent research on decades-old drugs that can help decrease the severity of COVID-19 symptoms.

Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are used in the treatment of several diseases, including malaria and rheumatoid arthritis.

Further testing is underway for using those drugs in COVID-19 cases in the United States, but they have been shown to significantly help with patients battling the disease in Italy, China and France.

"Will it cure everything? Will everybody all of a sudden be better next week? No. But it's gonna bend the curve, as they say, make a big difference and get our society back to functioning normally much more rapidly," said Dr. Marc Babitz, a family physician who spoke at the Utah State Capitol Friday morning.

Dan Richards, the CEO of Utah-based pharmacy Meds in Motion, said all pharmacies will be surveyed on the stock of the medicine they have.

The coalition will soon be surveying Utahns on their symptoms to gauge the number of people experiencing symptoms.